"Chagossians have waited more than forty years for justice, there should be no delay now." Our response to Government Statement on Chagossian Return

Earlier today (10th February) the Government made a statement announcing the publication of the Foreign Office-commissioned KPMG report into the feasibility of Chagossian resettlement of their homeland. Our initial reaction is broadly positive and can be read below. The

Foreign Office Statement is cautious; but clear return is possible

Foreign Office Statement is cautious; but clear return is possible

Government’s statement, which announces the beginning of a “policy review,” can be read in full here.

The UK Chagos Support Association very much welcomes KPMG’s report into the feasability of Chagossian return to their homeland and its conclusion that there are no practical, security or environmental obstacles to resettlement. The Government’s confirmation that it will now engage in a serious and thorough policy review is also welcome.

The indication that the unique history of the Chagossian people will be a primary factor in this policy review is especially pleasing. The forced deportation of Chagossians and their neglect in exile by successive administrations places an unavoidable moral obligation on the UK Government to deliver justice to a much abused community.

The report rightly recongises any resettlement programme is complex, but it also demonstrates that there are no challenges to return which can not be overcome with appropriate planning and management.

Buildings like this beautiful church could soon see life again

Buildings like this beautiful church could soon see life again

We understand the Government’s concern that disproportionate costs should not fall on UK taxpayers. We are confident, however, that by efficiently managing processes, utilising a wide variety of funding sources and exploring income generating opportunities, Chagossian return can be delivered with extremely minimal cost to UK citizens.

Upon receiving the report, UK Chagos Support Association Patron and Novelist Philippa Gregory also reacted positivity, commenting;

“I am so pleased that KPMG has consulted the Chagossians as to their future and suggested ways that they could return to their rightful homeland at last. The Chagossians have waited more than forty years for justice, there should be no delay now.”

“While there is work to do on the detail of return, the Government can agree to the principle at once and make a commitment to these people who have been cruelly exiled for too long. The older people want to see their homeland before they die and the younger people are eager to make a start on their new lives. I urge the Foreign Office to make a commitment to return now.”

We accordingly look forward to working with the Chagossian community, Government officials and other stakeholders to develop and deliver a practical resettlement project in the near . Recognition of wider concerns of the Chagossian people beyond resettlement is also highly welcome and it is only right these are addressed simultaneously with central aim of return.

If you have any further queries about this issue do not hesitate to get in touch. Contact details can be found in the ‘contact us’ tab in the top left.

One Comment

  1. Over the past near 30 years have addressed of the Project/concept – the Seychellois exiles had been promoting, lobbying and getting then Lady Thatcher government to consider/take on broad and her then Ministers, the UN, the British media.

    This was the high of the Boat people refugees, the refugees from Srilanka their plight and the ship that had been used to imprison then.

    The Seychelles exile/faction, there were few if any Chagossian in then London 1980’s those in Mauritius and Seychelles – other exile/refugees in London. The idea and concept was to use part of then BIOT to develop and international Refugee settlement under the UN Flag/control to overcome the USA and USSR disapproval – the cost would have been £150 millions over 10 years and affecting some 5,000 to 10,000. The idea was in the long term to create a different political and economic dynamic in the Region.

    We studied this approach after the many attempted failed coup d’etat and no hope of change in then Seychelles
    .
    We used many of the experience, figures and connection to put not place that SIROP program. Then PM Jugnauth, then President Kassam Uteem and then Mr Paul Beranger and then Dr Ramgolam knew of the issues and later the SIROP program.

    Many of the information KPMG provided in their recent report would have been applicable. Had we had a more positive response for Mrs Thatcher would have had to use KPMG or one of he Big five to put together the concept or the UN/UNIDO/World Bank. There is a good deal to be debate in this report. Beside the Seychelllois exile have a very important say and role in the Indian ocean politic – they have been impacting the BIOT and Chagossian debacles irrelevant what the media write and others.

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